Powerplant installed. Next: Kessel Run.

12 hours.

This is a tale of the 36 hours beginning Thursday the 3rd. It started with a text from Shelley, who said my EFIS had arrived from MGL Avionics. The unboxing revealed this:

This is the MGL Stratomaster Odyssey EFIS. There are many like it, but this one is mine. I hooked it up with the backup battery, plugged in the AHRS and compass and flew over SMO. My house is about a mile away from SMO, so I set the barometer high enough to see over the hills and rolled the sensors around. The EFIS responded brilliantly. Setup should be a snap. After that, I put it away in its box and went back to work. While I was there, I got a call from Tim at Tim’s Aircraft Engines, who informed me that my engine was done. Friday morning I went to pick it up. After some interesting work with the hoist, the guys managed to get it into the back of the truck and get it strapped down and I was able to bring it home.

So, to recap. We started with this eBay special:

Gutted it for the conversion, but found spalling on the lifters. Boo.

This stage is pre-assembly at Tim’s Aircraft Engines:

And here it is coming out the back of the truck at home on Friday:

It’s so. Freaking. Beautiful.

And here it is, ready to go.

Dave had promised me he’s stop by and lend a hand this weekend. He did, bright and early Saturday morning. He bucked some rivets on the antenna and fuel fitting doublers that would have been impossible for me to do with anything but pop rivets. After that, we were originally going to lay out and cut the panel, but I said why not hang the engine instead? I’ve got all the truly annoying firewall stuff done, Dave’s here, and I can cut the panel on my own.

So I set up the engine hoist (this thing has been useful more times than I can count now).

Getting ready to lift it into place. Some guys have done this on their own, but I just don’t see how.

Shelley stopped by the shop to see what all the cursing was about, and fortunately she had her camera.

I asked her to document the process. It wasn’t that bad, really.

Watch your fingers, guys.

The last bolt is a complete bastard. If it isn’t, run out and buy a lottery ticket right then and there.

No, I’m not about to beat the engine into submission with the Red Stick of Death. I’m holding the engine hoist bar above my head in celebration. This is the Tin Man’s heart transplant right here, a significant milestone on the way to being finished, or at least flying.

One thing we had to do was take the fuel servo off and rotate it 90 degrees so the inlet was on the side. This is per the AFP manual. This has the effect of putting the control arms for mixture and throttle on the bottom, where there’s just barely enough room to get control cables to them. Unfortunately, none of the hoses supplied in the Van’s FWF kit work for this configuration, so I’ll have to send them back and get some custom ones made at Earl’s.

(Update: turns out the hoses are probably OK. I forgot that between the firewall and the fuel servo is a rather large and unmistakeable engine-driven fuel pump that has a hose going both into, and out of it. This will more than make up for the discrepancy in length.)

Charged with the rush of success, that being measured by the fact that the engine didn’t fall off and crush one of us to death or disability, we tackled the exhaust. After losing an hour to the fact that we both caught a case of the stupids when it came to the heat muff, we got it all hooked up. trimming the stainless steel support tubes dulled up my bandsaw blade, but it worked long enough to get the job done. Fortunately I had a spare.

Today was rather anticlimactic. All I did was fabricate the mount for the EFIS backup battery and ponder bracketry for a while. Of course, it was Super Bowl Sunday, so we all went over to Dave and Peggy’s to watch the game.

Dave, thanks a gazillion for all your help. You get the first passenger flight, if you want it. And if Shelley doesn’t.

Comments (2)

  1. 6:16 pm, February 11, 2011Bob Lapides  / Reply

    Way to go John! Love the “hung engine”. I’m deciding which engine to hang on my RV7A. Leaning strongly towards Lycoming 180 HP. Would you mind sharing in round numbers what you’ve got into this re-build engine. I’m still deciding to go with new or rebuilt.

    Bob L

    • 6:26 pm, February 11, 2011stjohn  / Reply

      Thanks Bob! The numbers play out like this: $8900 for engine, 12,500 for teardown/return to service, new starter and harness, $2500 for AFP system, and $1400 for cold-air sump. I wasn’t expecting the $12,500. If you buy a used engine, make sure you pull a cylinder off and get a good look at the surfaces of the camshaft and lifters. I still need an alternator, and some custom hoses. The AFP/Superior cold air sump combo is one of the hardest ones to set up, because none of the stock brackets work and clearance is TIGHT. I might wind up getting a new starter as well, because the Kelly Aerospace one obstructs the throttle body.

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